Chronically Cared For
Introducing "Chronically Cared For," a revolutionary approach to healing, health, wellness, and chronic illness management, uniquely formulated by Naturopathic Doctor, MindBody Medicine Specialist,
and chronic illness warrior, Dr. Anna Johnson.
What is "Chronically Cared For"?
"Chronically Cared For" is a one-of-a-kind support and connection group comprised ofweekly group support check-ins via zoom, daily email devotional and encouraging messages, and personalized naturopathic medicine, nutrition, and integrative health tips from Dr. Anna Johnson, BS/BA/ND/CNS.
This is unlike other naturopath/client or doctor/patient or even support group relationships. Why? Because your doctor and counselor is just like you—a patient. I (Dr. Anna) have walked in your shoes (and do, to this day), and know FIRSTHAND how difficult and discouraging living with chronic illness is. Not only because of the physical toll it takes, but because of the emotional, mental, and spiritual struggles that come along with it...not including the frustration that comes with the dismissiveness of doctors.
As a Psychology major in college, and having studied in-depth the mindbody connection in both my undergraduate and graduate studies, I can testify that there is a MULTITUDE of evidence that not only suggests, but PROVES, that our mental health and wellbeing directly influences (and can CHANGE AND CONTROL) our physical health and wellbeing. One of the most crucial factors for our mental health is our ability to socialize with others and create meaningful connections--connections where we feel heard, understood, valued, and accepted...something that, unfortunately, can be very difficult (and at times impossible) to do with a chronic illness. Harry F. Harlow’s classic psychological experiment showed that when baby rhesus monkeys were separated from their birth monkey mother that provided nourishment AND affection/warmth/connection, and placed with either a metal feeding system or a cloth monkey stuffed animal (but no food or nourishment), the monkeys always preferred and gravitated towards the cloth mother: in other words, they chose CONNECTION over what we would consider a “survival” necessity. But this is only one of literally THOUSANDS of examples, all studies proving that connection isn’t only beneficial and part of a healthy life, it’s a necessity...and can make or break one’s health.
Similarly, the connection between isolation and chronic illness is strong...SO strong that countless articles have been written on it, including a 2019 NIH study, and a 2018 PubMed study...both concluding that not only does “social isolation increase(s) the risk of being diagnosed with chronic illness,” but actually can speed the decline of health in those with chronic illness.
Isolation doesn’t just look like being alone all the time (aka social distancing or self-quarantine, which we should all be PAINFULLY familiar with by now). Isolation can look like being surrounded by friends, family, doctors, and colleagues that have no clue how to relate to or empathize with you, you illness, or your life circumstances. Isolation can look like trying to constantly “keep it together” and “pretend to be normal” at work, and then letting yourself break down when you get home because you’re so exhausted from trying to fake it. Isolation can look like repeatedly voicing your concerns and struggles to your doctor, but it never seems to make a difference: they still never “listen.” Isolation can look like a lot of things...including having no one who really “gets” you and what you’re going through. Isolation can come in different disguises, but it is always caused by the same core issue: the feeling that we don’t belong. Brené Brown said “Love and belonging are irreducible needs of men, women, and children. In the absence of love and belonging, there is always suffering.” If you have a chronic illness, a rare diagnosis, or are simply walking through a unique set of stormy circumstances, chances are, you feel (or have felt at one time or for a long time) that you don’t belong...and feeling like we don’t belong is the precursor to feeling that we are unloved. Feelings of loneliness and belovedness cannot coexist...and the only way to abandon lonely and embrace beloved, is to connect.
This is the beauty of Chronically Cared For—every single human being in this group has been through struggles, whether emotional, mental, spiritual, physical, or all of the above, and can relate to every other person in the group. We have all learned valuable, life-giving lessons by persevering through our personal pains, and those lessons may just be the life-saving lessons for other people. This group not only creates a safe, empathetic space to bare our souls with those who will really “get it,” but also allows us to encourage and minister to others, which in turn creates a cycle of healing that is exactly the cycle God desires us to create through relationships. Lastly, as a Naturopathic Doctor (and self-confessing guinea pig of multiple potions and products for my own chronic illness), I can offer natural health tips and tricks catered to YOUR needs (and backed by SCIENCE, no snake oil here!) and help you find wellness...regardless of your health struggles and limitations. After helping countless people, myself included, find wellness IN SPITE OF illness (lyme, lupus, cystic fibrosis, connective tissue disorders, PCOS, fibroids, autoimmune diseases) by merging mind, body, and spirit, it would be my absolute privilege to do the same for YOU.
Chronically Cared For is truly one of a kind. It's a safe space where connection, vulnerability, and love merge to produce change in the best way possible: change that heals and transforms lives...for decades to come. Our lives have eternal impact, and what we do with the life we've been given determines the impact we will have. By choosing to transition from seeing pain to seeing purpose, we can inspire and encourage countless other people to rise strong, heal from the inside out, and find hope once again. Creating a culture of change begins with you and me, and what we do with our lives just as they are...so, will you take the first step?
Wellness isn’t just the state of your physical health...it requires unity of our whole entire being. It requires connection with other human beings. And it can be attained BY YOU, with the help of others in your same shoes, and by others with your help and unique experiences. If you’re ready to begin the journey to TRUE and LASTING wellness, you’re in the right place. Welcome to day one of your life living well, and helping others do the same—chronic illness or no chronic illness.